Advice for drinking with diabetes

Before you toast on New Year's Eve, make sure you know what diabetic precautions to take.

As New Year's Eve quickly approaches, it's important that diabetics are aware of the effects alcohol may have on their condition. While it's always best to first consult your doctor about drinking if you have Type 2 diabetes, there are some general rules to follow.

Potential risks
Since alcohol is processed similarly to fats, it can increase blood sugar in diabetics easily. Additionally, most of these beverages are full of empty calories. Some of the worst drinks to indulge in include sweet wine and beer, as there are more carbohydrates in these compared to others. Patients who are on diabetic medications should talk to their doctor to ensure that booze will not have any effects on their prescriptions.1 And, as you may know, when drinking, you may experience a stimulated appetite. That means you may overeat, which can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels.

Advice for drinking
Some words of advice that everyone can benefit from when drinking alcohol is doing so with caution. Overdoing it can lead to a number of health issues, many which surpass anything related to diabetes. However, when diabetics are drinking with diabetes, some additional tips to follow include:

  • Plan your meal the evening ahead of the celebration. This will help to prevent overeating and making other poor food choices as the ball drops. Additionally, this keeps you from drinking on an empty stomach, which can really mess with your blood sugar levels.
  • Opt for water or diet pops when mixing liquors to drink on New Year's Eve. These will do a much better job of maintaining your blood sugar levels than sugar-filled mixers.2
  • Between drinks, rehydrate with a glass of water or another non-alcoholic beverage.

Whenever you're drinking, it's always best to keep your diabetes identification bracelet or necklace on hand. This way, if anything goes wrong, you're prepared. Before heading out to celebrate the start of 2014, you will want to make sure that your blood glucose is under control.3 If you test your levels and something seems off, it may be better to stick to sparkling grape juice instead.

What to watch for
Even if you've monitored your drinking properly (no more than two drinks daily for men and one for women is recommended4), you may experience negative effects on your diabetes due to consumption. Key symptoms to watch for include sleepiness, disorientation and dizziness. These may all be signs that your blood sugar levels are too low. The difficulty comes into play with the fact that signs of low glucose are similar to drunkenness, which is why its always best to stay on the safe side and not drink any more than is recommended.

Before December 31 arrives, contact Medex Supply to purchase your diabetic supplies for 2014. The online medical supply store provides individuals and health care professionals with everything from infusion sets to insulin syringes, in additional to an array of other medical supplies.

1 WebMD, "Diabetes and alcohol" May 27, 2013
2 Health magazine, "Type 2 diabetes and alcohol: Proceed with caution" April 10, 2008
3 American Diabetes Association, "Food & fitness: Alcohol" November 11, 2013
4 Mayo Clinic, "Alcohol and diabetes: drinking safely" December 9, 2011

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